Tuesday practice notes: Patriots, Bucs engage in high-intensity workout
|08.13.13 at 3:01 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots and Bucs had the first joint practice of the week Tuesday, and in a full pads session that ran for roughly two hours, had an energetic workout in a light (and slightly chilly) rain. Here are a few quick notes:
•The following players were not spotted on the field: wide receiver Mark Harrison, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, tight end Rob Gronkowski and defensive linemen Jermaine Cunningham, Armond Armstead and Jason Vega. Meanwhile, the following players were on the field, but extremely limited: cornerbacks Alfonzo Dennard and Ras-I Dowling, wide receiver Michael Jenkins, offensive linemen Dan Connolly, Markus Zusevics, Tyronne Greene and Kevin Haslam and safety Nate Ebner.
•It was one of the most intense workouts of the summer for the Patriots. The pads meant there was some good, crisp hitting going on, but there were no cheap shots or pushing and shoving after the whistle. (Not sure how much was because there were officials on the field monitoring the workout.) It was a little sloppy at times for everyone — rookie receiver Aaron Dobson appeared to be affected by the wet weather with at least four drops (by my count), and the stress of working against another team at a high pace added to some of the issues. Plus, the Patriots cranked up the noise, with some Guns N’ Roses coming on at full volume during the 11 on 11 work. But all in all, a good workout.
•The two sides were apart for positional drills, but came together shortly after the start of practice with some one-on-one work and special teams drills before jumping into lots of 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 work.
•Offensively, as has been the case for much of the summer, quarterback Tom Brady looked pretty sharp. He appeared to overthrow Danny Amendola on one pass play for the end zone and ended up missing on the connection (which drew a frustrated yell) and looked a little angry with the fact that tight end Zach Sudfeld failed to hit the ground fast enough after a reception during a hurry-up/end-of-the-half situation. But other than that, it was all good for the quarterback, who was able to connect with a wide variety of receivers throughout the day.
•In 7-on-7 work, Brady hooked up with Kenbrell Thompkins on a pass for the end zone, a play where Thompkins made a sweet one-handed grab over a Tampa defender. Josh Boyce had a nice catch in the end zone. And for his rough outing, there was still a lot to like about Dobson, with his high point coming when he went up and over a Bucs cornerback on a pass from Brady in 11-on-11 work, competing for the ball at its’ highest point against the defender and still coming away with possession. A nice play on an otherwise forgettable afternoon for the rookie.
•Defensively, there were some ups and downs for the Patriots, who did a lot of personnel shuffling. In 7-on-7 work, it was interesting watching rookie linebacker Jamie Collins running with what appeared to be a reasonable facsimile of the starting defense. On one dropback from Tampa quarterback Mike Glennon, you could hear cornerback Aqib Talib barking instructions to Collins on coverage and technique, and Collins was able to make the adjustments in the middle of the play and break up a pass meant for Tampa receiver Mike Williams. It was a good sequence for the rookie, who was able to make the necessary changes on the fly and come away with the pass defensed. (To be fair, Collins was beaten on the next play where Glennon found a different receiver for a touchdown catch.)
•With Dennard and Dowling on the field but extremely limited, the Patriots took a look at a few different combinations in the secondary, including moving Devin McCourty from corner to safety and back again throughout the session. When he was at safety, he was working with Adrian Wilson, but when he moved to corner, he was part of a CB crew that included Talib on the opposite corner and Marquice Cole in the slot and Adrian Wilson and Steve Gregory at safety. You have to wonder how much run Cole would be getting if Dennard and Dowling were able to go, but in the fight for a roster spot, Tuesday was a good chance to evaluate Cole as a potential fourth corner on the roster.
•One of the defensive highlights came at the end of practice when safety Tavon Wilson was able to do an impressive job reading a route and jumping it to come away with the interception. Wilson has been — by far — the second-most interesting Wilson to this point in camp, but it was a nice moment for a guy who figures to provide secondary depth in 2013. Another defensive highlight came when defensive tackle Tommy Kelly blocked a field goal attempt at the end of practice. He looked a little shaken up at the end of the play, but it didn’t seem to be much of an issue the rest of the way.
•As has been the case for much of the summer, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was on the field and watched most of practice. (In addition, Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen was present.) Interesting to speak with Tampa cornerback Darrelle Revis (that still sounds weird), who said that he had a chance to talk with Kraft during practice, and the New England owner wished him well as he continues to rehab after a knee injury last season.
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